Non-profits are indispensable to our lives.
They are our seniors’ care homes, daycare centers, youth programs, libraries, counselling centers, food banks, and more. Non-profits challenge social injustices, inequalities, and provide community for many who have nowhere else to go.
In Greater Victoria, each of us is regularly enriched by one or more of the 31,000 organizations in BC’s charitable sector. Today, they offer society essential programs and services, from opening doors to more affordable housing to providing opportunities for arts and creativity.
They also represent over 8 per cent of the provincial workforce, having become important economic drivers and major employers for anyone looking for a meaningful career in social change.
This is why the Victoria Foundation is thrilled to be celebrating the inaugural BC Non-Profit Day on October 30 and for the week that follows – to honour this impactful, life-changing work, and to highlight the sector’s significant contribution to the social and economic fabric of our province.
The numbers show it all.
Residents in the capital region benefit from over 1,000 charitable organizations. A 2018 report on the region’s civil society impact showed that people in Greater Victoria donate and volunteer at rates above many other communities. The most prominent impact areas were good health and well-being, quality education, and justice and strong institutions.
The same report showed that registered charities supported the equivalent of 63,000 full-time jobs, enabling over $300 million dollars in municipal taxes. The total economic activity of these charities was $4 billion dollars.
Provincially in 2021, non-profits, including community, business and government organizations, contributed $28 billion to BC’s economy, and represented around 335,000 jobs. The community non-profit sector alone employed 87,000 workers and contributed $4.39 billion to the entire province.
Despite the numbers, the sector’s grassroots action has historically been overlooked.
As the costs of living increase, non-profits are seeing an increased need for their services but resources are largely staying stagnant. There’s a need for ongoing support and partnerships with governments, businesses, and community members, to make sure the sector can thrive.
Considering these challenges, the civil society sector still proves every day that it is flexible, adaptable and resilient. A prominent 2023 study on the state of BC’s non-profits saw some signs of stabilization, as many survey respondents expressed feelings of hope and motivation in their work.
Non-profit employees and volunteers are determined, future-oriented people, who work hard for a just and equitable society, and many are finding ways to bring in the revenue needed to keep their operations going strong.
In Greater Victoria, the Indigenous Perspectives Society, for example, diversified its income by opening a social enterprise branch that offers culturally relevant training services to Indigenous caregivers and social workers.
More social enterprises and programs have begun springing up to help non-profits navigate any challenges to furthering their missions. One such program is Thriving Non-Profits, offered by Scale Collaborative, in Victoria.
Research initiatives like the Victoria Foundation’s annual Vital Signs report continue to gain interest, as they highlight the region’s most pressing issues, like cost of living, housing and homelessness, and they offer more opportunities for the community to come together to solve these problems head-on.
So, we invite you to celebrate BC Non-Profit Day with us.
The charitable needs of the region are growing, and as more community members, leaders and policy makers turn their support to the sector, the opportunities for ongoing social change and equity are boundless.
BC’s non-profits are crucial to the stability of our economy, and to the livelihoods of thousands.
They create opportunities for everyone, from every background and culture, to express themselves, to satisfy their needs, to connect with likeminded people and build thriving communities.
They’re well positioned to help inform government policies, programs, and funding decisions.
They’re a perfect place for those looking to work in jobs that bring profound meaning to their lives.
BC Non-Profit Day on October 30 and for the week that follows is a celebration of the frontline champions. This special day recognizes the real people who are making a difference with their time, talent, imagination and skills.